Look, I know I promised another Easter weekend update. But would you believe it, I completely forgot to take photos? And what’s a blog post wanking lyrical about food without pictures? I’m sure nobody is going to hold me accountable for not keeping promises considering nobody reads this blog yet, but we’ll all be sorry when somewhere down the track I discover that in an alternate reality, the second Easter piece was the one to become the crux of what I built my fame and fortune on. Let’s just hope I never meet this alternate reality self just so I don’t have to curse the heavens and my father’s wine cellar that conspired to make me too distracted (read: tipsy) to remember the picture thing.
So why not just skip to the next public holiday in line? ANZAC day, naturally (on a separate note, is ANZAC still an acronym and thus has to be capitalized, or is it now just a word, either way I can’t be arsed with the capitals no more). Anyone who follows me on twitter (all 32 of you – I’m catching up with you Ashton Kutcher!) will know about my recent discovery of a treasure trove of Woman’s Weekly cookbooks in my mother’s kitchen. These have been hidden away for several years in favour of the more “contemporary” tomes like Neil Perry and Karen Martini, but reading them again was an experience in equal parts hilarity, disgust, and surprise at how little things change.
The Cooking Class Cookbook fell firmly into the latter category. I’ve put my name on it and will steal it as soon as the memory of me laughing hysterically at these books has faded from my mother’s mind. It’s not exciting by any means but for good, classic cooking it’s all there. Why buy a new cookbook telling you how to make old favourites when you can buy an old one that tells you how to do it right, and tells you how to do everything.
Hilarity was mainly reserved for the little gems that are The Dinner Party Cookbooks Part 1 and 2. These really exemplify the photography and styling prowess (or lack thereof) of the WW team back in the day. There is a lot of loud placemats, and rubber plants, and unnecessary tableware. Empty space was obviously a sin in the Woman’s Weekly of the 70s and 80s. More is more people!
Naturally the last category is disgust (though this baby could fall into hilarity just as easily). The Complete Avocado Cookbook. Because we all need a cookbook specifically on avocados, that versatile fruit, best served hot or cold. My mother claims vehemently that this one belonged to my late Grandmother, and I’m inclined to believe her only based on a merciful lack of hot avocado in my formative years. My favourite recipe is this one:
It’s an avocado, seed removed, stuffed with cheese and other things, sealed up, peeled, crumbed and fried! Isn’t that special? I have the full recipe for this one, if anyone is interested… I feel a strong urge to actually cook this, but then again I am fascinated by the completely naff.
Of course, no old Woman’s Weekly cookbook collection would be complete without the king of books, the revered Birthday Cake Book. This one is going straight in my suitcase. I’m tossing up between the white rabbit and the castle for my birthday this year. What’s your favourite cake?
To bring this trip through bad taste and nostalgia back to my original point (ANZAC, sorry Anzac day), I did of course make Anzac biscuits yesterday. And I did of course use an old WW cookbook for the recipe. It’s ridiculously simple – equal parts flour, oats and sugar, a bit less coconut, and enough melted butter and golden syrup to wet it all. I like to go a bit overboard on the golden syrup as I like a chewier biscuit so I’ve adapted the original recipe. Let’s just say I don’t have a picture because there’s none left – it’s a tried, true and ridiculously over-styled recipe. Happy Anzac day.
1 cup rolled oats
1 cup plain flour
1 cup caster sugar
¾ cup shredded coconut
4 tbsp golden syrup
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tbsp boiling water
Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl Melt the butter and olden syrup in a bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Combine bicarb and boiling water and add to the butter mixture. Stir the butter mixture into the dry ingredients and bake in a slow (150°C) oven for about 20 minutes.